WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Several demonstrators have been arrested near the United Nations for blocking traffic to protest Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' campaign for full U.N. membership.
At least seven people were arrested Tuesday after they stood in the middle of First Avenue, holding up cars for several minutes.
They were among about 30 people demonstrating against the Palestinian effort to be recognized by the world body as an independent state.
Another protest, of 30 pro-Israel groups, is scheduled for tomorrow and is expected to draw as many as 10,000 people.
Abbas has scheduled meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman as he seeks to line up support ahead of his speech Friday to the General Assembly when the Palestinians vow to submit a letter formally requesting U.N. membership.
Israeli officials said that by going to the U.N., the Palestinians are violating a pledge to resolve disagreements through negotiations.
As the U.N General Assembly began its annual session, the U.N.'s neighbors are once again forced to deal with street closures and frozen zones.
Noel Hankin, who lives on First Avenue, said he's proud to have the U.N. in Manhattan, but he thinks the security could be more finely tuned.
"I think they could do a better job of respecting the ability of local residents across the street from the U.N. to get into their homes," said Hankin. "And I don't think it would interfere with the security."
With the Associated Press
(Photo: Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute in Riverdale was among protesters who briefly shut down First Avenue to protest the move by the Palestinian Authority to seek statehood/Bob Hennelly/WNYC.)
(Photo: A half-dozen pro-Israeli protesters were arrested as part of a planned act of civil disobedience that briefly shut down First Avenue/Bob Hennelly/WNYC.)
(Photo: Protestors wave the Israeli flag near the United Nations/Bob Hennelly/WNYC.)
(Photo: NYPD officers warned the pro-Israeli protestors on First Avenue that they risked arrest if the continued to block the street/Bob Hennelly/WNYC.)